PSYCH101 Study Guide

Site: Saylor Academy
Course: PSYCH101: Introduction to Psychology (2018.A.01)
Book: PSYCH101 Study Guide
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Sunday, December 3, 2023, 11:21 PM

Navigating this Study Guide

Study Guide Structure

In this study guide, the sections in each unit (1a., 1b., etc.) are the learning outcomes of that unit. 

Beneath each learning outcome are:

  • questions for you to answer independently;
  • a brief summary of the learning outcome topic;
  • and resources related to the learning outcome. 

At the end of each unit, there is also a list of suggested vocabulary words.


How to Use this Study Guide

  1. Review the entire course by reading the learning outcome summaries and suggested resources.
  2. Test your understanding of the course information by answering questions related to each unit learning outcome and defining and memorizing the vocabulary words at the end of each unit.

By clicking on the gear button on the top right of the screen, you can print the study guide. Then you can make notes, highlight, and underline as you work.

Through reviewing and completing the study guide, you should gain a deeper understanding of each learning outcome in the course and be better prepared for the final exam!

Unit 1: The History and Methods of Psychology

1a. Identify the role of major researchers and theorists in the development of the field of psychology, including William James, Wilhelm Wundt, Sigmund Freud, Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Köhler, Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Noam Chomsky, and Erik Erickson

  • What is the importance of Wilhelm Wundt and William James in the development of psychology?
  • What were Sigmund Freud's influences on psychology?
  • How did research by Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner differ from previous work in psychology? What influences does behaviorism have to this day?

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. The origin of the field can be traced back to Wilhelm Wundt and his laboratory in Germany. William James was the first American psychologist. The field evolved from Wundt's focus on introspection (understanding internal processes to stimuli) to Freud, Erikson, Piaget's exploration of broader concepts like child development, to Pavlov, Skinner, Maslow, Roger's study of human behavior and motivation and Chomsky's exploration of language acquisition.

In Europe, Sigmund Freud developed his theory of psychosexual development, highlighting the important role of childhood experiences in human personality development. His theory remains influential to this day, although many oppose his view that childhood experiences and behaviors determine a person's personality during adulthood.

Behaviorism was developed in the United States by Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner. It became a major emphasis in psychology, and contributed to our current understanding of why we repeat certain behaviors as opposed to others. Principles of behaviorism such as reinforcement and shaping are still used today, especially in educational and clinical settings.

To review, see section 1.2 of the textbook and "History of Psychology".

1b. Characterize the following schools of thought: Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism, Psychoanalysis, Humanism, and Gestalt Psychology

  • What is the difference between structuralism and functionalism?
  • What are the basic tenets of Gestalt psychology?
  • Why is behaviorism so influential in psychology's history?
  • What are the basic tenets of humanism?

William Wundt, the founder of the field of psychology, was a structuralist; he assumed we can only understand human behavior if we break it into parts. His method of "introspection" helped him study the experience of perception. William James, the first American psychologist, was a functionalist; he emphasized humans' adaptive responses to the environment.

Sigmund Freud developed a theory of psychosexual development and was the founder of psychoanalysis. He viewed that early childhood experiences significantly impact future personality development. Subsequently, patients undergoing psychoanalytic therapy will be asked to think about their childhood experiences. Another major focus in this approach is uncovering unconscious and subconscious memories and experiences.

Humanism emerged largely in response to the deterministic schools of behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers focused on the innate potential for good within humans, and were influential in developing this school of thought.

Gestalt psychology, as founded by Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka, and Wolfgang Köhler, was very popular in Europe. Gestalt psychologists focused on human perception and concluded that we tend to perceive the "sum of all parts" rather than individual differences.

American psychologists focused more on behaviorism, the study of the mechanisms that shape and reinforce behavior. Ivan Pavlov studied behaviorism with dogs, and introduced the concept of "classical conditioning", a learning process of two (or more) associated stimuli. John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner explored "operant conditioning", learning through punishments and rewards, and focused on the influence of reinforcements and punishments on human and animal behavior. During the 1950's and 60's, behaviorism was one of the most popular schools of psychology.

To review, see section 1.2 of the textbook.

1c. Describe the scientific method, research methods in psychology, and the principles of scientific experiment planning and design

  • What is the scientific method? What is its role in psychology?
  • What research methods are popular in the field of psychology?
  • What is the difference between cross-sectional and longitudinal research?

Social science researchers use the scientific method to explore phenomena in a systematic and objective way. The steps of the scientific method (hypothesis, research, observation, theory) influence and build on one another in a continuous cycle. Using the scientific method ensures that research is done systematically and can be replicated by others.

There are a number of popular research methods in psychology in which researchers systematically observe phenomena, such as naturalistic observation. This method is particularly popular in animal research, or when an individual might not want to disclose their motivations. Psychologists also make use of surveys in research, such as by asking participants to fill out forms to rate their experiences. Interviews are used to gather in-depth information from participants about particular experiences.

Most psychological research tends to be cross-sectional, meaning that a phenomenon is studied at one point in time. This is primarily due to the large costs associated with longitudinal research, research that spans over a longer period of time. Longitudinal research, while more costly and associated with more research difficulties, allows researchers to draw firmer conclusions.

To review, see sections 2.1 and 2.2 of the textbook.

1d. Understand data analysis techniques and experimental methods commonly used in psychology research

  • What is a correlation? Why does a correlation not imply causation?
  • What are the components of an experimental research design?

A correlation is a statistic that measures the degree of association between two variables. A correlation merely tells research if and how two variables are related, such as exercise and happiness. Correlation does NOT imply that one variable causes another. For example, if there is a positive correlation between happiness and exercise, one cannot therefore conclude that happiness is derived from exercise. This is because other variables that are not measured may also have an impact. Cross-sectional research traditionally uncovers correlations, while longitudinal research can provide more insight on causation.

Psychologists undertaking an experimental research design make use of separate control and experimental groups, randomly assigning participants to each. Psychologists manipulate the independent variable so that one group is exposed to it but not the other. For example, in pharmaceutical research, the experimental group might receive a new drug while the control group receives a placebo. Researchers then measure the dependent variable (the outcome) to explore what effect, if any, the independent variable had.

To review, see section 2.3 of the textbook.

Unit 1 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Structuralism
  • Functionalism
  • Behaviorism
  • Gestalt psychology
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Humanism
  • Cross-sectional research
  • Longitudinal research
  • Correlation
  • Experimental design
  • Correlation
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Hypothesis
  • Independent variable
  • Dependent variable
  • Random assignment
  • Research ethics
  • Survey
  • Observation
  • Participants
  • Bias
  • Experimental group
  • Control group

Unit 2: Neuroscience

2a. Understand the role of genetics in human psychology, and how the nature-versus-nurture (gene-environment interaction) debate has informed the field of biopsychology

  • What is the gene-environment interaction?
  • What's the difference between genotype and phenotype?

Even though psychology is a social science and defined as the study of the mind, the fields genetics and biology are also important. Specifically, we draw on these fields to understand the biological causes of behaviors and to understand the significance of brain functions and development. A big focus in this line of inquiry is the nature-nurture debate, namely whether our genes (nature) or our contexts and experiences (nurture) cause us to behave the way we do. Consequently, scientists differentiate between genotype (our genetic makeup) and phenotypes (inherited physical traits and characteristics).

It is generally recognized that genes do not exist in isolation -- that is, nature alone is not predictive of human behavior. Our genes provide the general structure (possible range for behaviors) in which we operate, but our inherited traits and our surroundings (nurture/environment) also contribute to those behaviors. So, our genes (nature) determines the possible range of a certain behavior (for example, artistic development) while our environment (nurture) determines its potential. For example, if a child has an innate talent for music (singing, playing an instrument) (gene) and is raised in a home in which parents provide ample opportunities and resources to foster a love for music, then this child will be more likely to reach her full potential of musical talent compared to a child who is not reared in such a fostering environment.

To review, see section 3.1 of the textbook and "The Nature-Nurture Question".


2b. Explain the structure and function of neurons, neural networks, neural communication, the brain, the spinal cord, the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system

  • What are the basic parts of a nerve cell?
  • How do neurons communicate with each other?
  • How do the central and peripheral nervous systems differ?

A nerve cell, or neuron, consists of a cell body, membrane, an axon covered in a myelin sheath, dendrites, and terminal buttons. Neurons rely on chemical messengers called neurotransmitters to communicate with one another; these neurotransmitters are stored in a neuron's terminal button. Once a neuron has been activated, an action potential fires,"activates" the neuron, and releases the neurotransmitter into the synaptic gap between neurons. When the receiving dendrites receive the signal, the receptors open and allow Na+ ions to move into the receiving cell. This causes the internal state of the receiving neuron to become positive. If that charge is strong enough to meet the threshold of excitation for the receiving neuron, it will become activated and start firing.

The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and the spinal cord while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is made up of the nerve cells throughout one's body. Essentially, the PNS connects the CNS to the rest of the body.

To review, see sections 3.2 and 3.3 of the textbook and "Neurons".


2c. Describe the physiological effects of neurotransmitters and psychoactive drugs, and how they affect behavior

  • What are neurotransmitters?
  • What is the effect of psychoactive drugs on neurotransmitters?

Neurons rely on chemical messengers called neurotransmitters to communicate with each other. These are stored in a neuron's terminal button. There are a number of neurotransmitters, each of which have different effects on behaviors. For example, dopamine and serotonin are associated with mood and sleep, while acetylcholine and glutamate are linked to memory. The release or inhibition of neurotransmitter release is associated with specific behaviors so if a neuron fires and releases acetylcholine, a person will have enhanced memory and cognition. However, when neurons are inhibited from releasing this neurotransmitter, the person will experience decreased memory.

Psychoactive drugs can impact neurotransmitters for example by forcing or inhibiting release of a neurotransmitter to regulate behavior. These are called agonist and antagonist responses, respectively. For example, patients experiencing schizophrenia symptoms have been found to have an overactive dopamine presence. Medications used to treat these patients consist primarily of dopamine antagonists to regulate this imbalance.

To review, see section 3.2 of the textbook. Review Table 3.1 for the specific associations between neurotransmitters and their effect on behavior. Also take a look at "Drugs and the Brain".


2d. Describe how researchers study and examine the brain and its functions, the behavioral effects of brain injuries, and the significance of split-brain operations

  • How can radiation and magnetic fields be used to study the brain?
  • What is a stroke and how can it affect brain functioning?
  • What is the role of split-brain operations and what are some consequences?

If brain functioning is impaired by an accident (damage to the head during a car accident, for example) or a stroke, researchers can draw upon brain imaging techniques to explore further. Strokes occurs when brain cells are deprived of oxygen and thus cannot function properly anymore.

Brain imaging techniques among patients with brain injuries can inform the field of neuropsychology greatly as we are still learning about specific brain structures and functions.

There are two methods involving radiation that allow researchers to study and take pictures of human brains. These techniques are particularly useful, as they are pain-free and not very invasive. They can provide ample evidence of brain functioning and damage following a stroke or an accident, for example. Computerized tomography (CT) is an x-ray of the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields to image the brain.

The two hemispheres of our brain are connected with fibers. Some patients with severe epilepsy elect to separate those fibers through split-brain surgery, which disconnects both hemispheres in the hopes of stopping the spread of seizures. This surgery is often successful in taming epilepsy, but patients display a number of side effects. For example, they may be able to name an object but not be able to grasp it with their hand.

To review, see section 3.4 of the textbook, "Strokes", and "The Brain".


2e. Describe the endocrine system and the role of hormones in regulating body functions

  • What are the major glands in the endocrine system?
  • How do hormones regulate body functions?

The endocrine system is made up of a number of glands that rely on chemical substances called hormones to communicate with each other and to regulate a number of behaviors such as metabolism, growth, sexual functions, sleep, reproduction, and mood. The pituitary gland is the master gland of the endocrine system; it regulates growth and pain hormones, among others. The thyroid gland is mostly responsible for regulating metabolism and appetite, while the pancreas secretes hormones that regulate sugar. Adrenal glands regulate stress hormones, and gonads secrete sexual hormones.

Unlike neurotransmitters, hormones travel through the body in the bloodstream. Hormones are typically slower to act, but tend to last longer than neurotransmitters. When hormones travel throughout the bloodstream, they must attach to their intended receptor cells for a message to be relayed. When a hormone binds to the correct cell, a biological process activates the receiving cell and corresponding gland. The major glands release hormones to regulate a number of functions, such as growth, appetite, sex, reproduction, and stress.

To review, see section 3.5 of the textbook.


2f. Describe the stages of sleep (REM and NREM), their importance in proper psychological function, and common sleep problems and disorders

  • What are the stages of sleep? Differentiate between REM and NREM
  • Describe common sleep problems and disorders

Sleep is a daily period of time and state of consciousness during which the nervous system is relaxed and relatively inactive. Research concludes that sleep is essential to our everyday health and functioning; even a short time without sleep can be linked to changes in our mood, awareness, and overall psychological functioning.

Non-REM or NREM sleep has 4 stages. Stage 1 sleep is the transition from being awake to sleeping; stage 2 is deeper, more relaxing sleep; and stages 3 and 4 are deep sleep. Brain waves are different during each of these stages [how?]. REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements, but no muscle response; during REM sleep, brain waves show similar patterns to those while awake. Common sleep disorders include insomnia (the inability to fall or stay asleep), sleepwalking, sleep apnea (difficulty breathing during sleep), and narcolepsy (the tendency to fall asleep).

To review, see section 4.3 of the textbook and "Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep".


2g. Understand how substance use disorders are classified; differentiate among major drug categories (stimulants, depressants, antipsychotics, opioids, hallucinogens)

  • What are examples of depressants, stimulants, opioids, and hallucinogen drugs?
  • What effects do these drugs have?

Sleep is an altered state of consciousness. Psychoactive drugs, such as prescription drugs or illegal substances, can also induce altered states. Drugs can impact our brain and behaviors in a number of ways and are categorized by their function. For example, alcohol, marijuana, and barbiturates have a sedative effect on the body and central nervous system. These substances are referred to as "depressants" because they slow the body and brain functioning down.

On the other hand, there are drugs that stimulate the brain and body resulting in increased activities. Stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines increase dopamine activity and often result in increased body activity or feelings of pleasure.

Heroin and morphine are examples of opioids that have an analgesic effect on the body, and typically decrease pain sensations.

Hallucinogens such as LSD and PCP profoundly alter the users' perceptions and sensations, for example, by causing vivid hallucinations or strange and new body sensations (like ants crawling on one's skin).

To review, see sections 4.5 and 4.6 of the textbook, "Commonly Abused Drugs", and "Drugs and the Brain".


Unit 2 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Neuron
  • Axon
  • Myelin sheath
  • Dendrite
  • Soma
  • Terminal button
  • Synapse
  • Action potential
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Agonist
  • Antagonist
  • Gland
  • Cerebellum
  • CNS - central nervous system
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Gene
  • Hemisphere
  • Hormone
  • Hypothalamus
  • PNS - peripheral nervous system
  • receptor
  • Epilepsy
  • Split brain operation
  • Stroke
  • REM sleep - rapid eye movement
  • NREM sleep - non-rapid eye movement
  • Brain waves
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Depressant
  • Stimulant
  • Opioid
  • Hallucinogen
  • Tolerance
  • Dependence
  • Withdrawal
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Euphoric high

Unit 3: Sensation and Perception

3a. Differentiate between the concepts of sensation and perception

  • What is the difference between sensation and perception?

We rely on our five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching) to make sense of the world. Sensory input allows us to make sense of our surroundings. Along these lines, we differentiate between sensation and perception. Sensation is defined as the specific sensory experience of a stimulus, for example, the act of hearing a sound, whereas perception refers to our interpretation of the information, like if we find the sound pleasant or distracting. Sensation can be thought of as a physiological process, whereas perception is psychological.

To review, see section 5.1 of the textbook and this lecture on sensation and perception.


3b. Explain the structure and function of the following sensory systems: visual, auditory, olfactory, somatic, and gustatory

  • How do the visual and auditory systems work? What are their components?
  • How do the chemical senses work?

Our body works in a number of ways to experience sensory stimulation. Each sense has its own structure and system. For example, we can see because light waves enter our eyes (through the pupil) and our eyes' lenses focus on it. Specifically, this focuses an image on a region of the eye's retina called the fovea. The fovea contains rods (best for dim light perception) and cones (best for bright light conditions) that help us see the image. The eye is connected to the optic nerve, which connects to various parts of the brain, including the occipital lobe that processes visual information.

Sound stimulation enters our auditory canal via vibrations in our eardrum which in turn moves the ossicles. This movement causes the stapes to press against the cochlea which then causes fluid inside the cochlea to move. This leads to an enlargement of hair cells which then send neural messages to the brain using the auditory nerve.

There are two chemical senses: taste and smell. Both gustation and olfaction rely on receptors in the tongue and nose to connect with appropriate molecules to send sensory information to the brain.

To review, see sections 5.4 and 5.5 of the textbook.


3c. Describe how external stimuli are processed in the brain

  • What is the processes of transduction and sensory adaptation?

External stimuli (e.g., sound, touch, smell) enter the sensory system. Sensory information is then sent to the brain through each sense's unique system (see 3b) from cells that are activated (and fire an action potential) when sensory information is perceived. Transduction refers to is the conversion from sensory stimulus to action potential. Sensory information must meet an absolute threshold in order to be perceived (information perceived below the threshold can be perceived as subliminal messages). Sensory adaptation refers to not perceiving constant/regular stimuli over an extended period of time.

To review, see section 5.1 of the textbook.


3d. Understand the principles of perception from Gestalt psychology

  • What is the figure-ground relationship?
  • What are the Gestalt principles of grouping?

The subfield of Gestalt Psychology is concerned with visual perception. These scholars developed a number of principles or laws explaining why we perceive images the way we do. For example, Gestalt psychologists posit that we separate images into a figure (what's in focus) and ground (background) when we view a picture.

According to Gestalt psychology, we also tend to group items that are close together, in what is known as the law of proximity. The principle of similarity suggests that we group similar items together, such as a group of people wearing shirts that are the same color. The law of continuity states that we are more likely to perceive continuous, smooth, flowing lines rather than jagged, broken lines. The principle of closure suggests that we organize our perceptions into complete objects rather than as a series of parts. As these laws demonstrate, Gestalt psychologists argue that we tend to perceive "the sum of all parts" when we view images.

To review, see section 5.6 of the textbook.


Unit 3 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Sensation
  • Perception
  • Adaptation
  • Transduction
  • Cornea
  • Pupil
  • Iris
  • Retina
  • Fovea
  • Lens
  • Trichromatic theory of color vision
  • Depth perception
  • Pinna
  • Ossicles
  • Cochlea
  • Pitch
  • Umami
  • Taste buds
  • Olfactory bulb
  • Thermoception
  • Pain perception
  • Vestibular sense
  • Proprioception
  • Kinesthesia
  • Figure-ground relationship
  • Law of proximity
  • Law of similarity
  • Law of closure
  • Law of continuity

Unit 4: Learning and Memory

4a. Discuss research conducted by notable scholars such as John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov

  • What field of psychology did John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov develop?
  • What were each of these psychologists' contributions?

John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov were founders and developers of the school of behaviorism. Ivan Pavlov and John B. Watson developed classical conditioning, the learning theory that suggests that the pairing of stimuli explains behavior. B.F. Skinner, on the other hand, focused on the immediate consequences of behaviors and used punishments and rewards to condition animals to engage in certain behaviors (e.g., teaching pigeons to bowl).

Behaviorism focuses primarily on overt/observable behavior and exploring what motivates animals and humans to repeat or avoid certain behaviors. To date, behavioral theories as those introduced by these researchers are still used widely in clinical and educational settings, among others.

To review, see sections 6.2 and 6.3 of the textbook and "Conditioning and Learning".


4b. Describe major learning theories, including operant conditioning, classical conditioning, and observational learning

  • What is operant conditioning? Who founded it?
  • What is classical conditioning? Who founded it?
  • What is observational learning?

B.F. Skinner largely founded the area of operant conditioning. In this type of conditioning, a rewarding stimulus is presented for desirable behavior whereas a punishment is presented following undesirable behavior. The theory suggests that reinforced or rewarded behavior is more likely to be repeated than behavior that has been punished.

Classical conditioning was developed by Ivan Pavlov in his work with dogs. John B. Watson applied the same principles to humans. Classical conditioning examines pairing a neutral stimulus to behavior or interactions. For example, Watson paired the presentation of a neutral stimulus like a cute animal with a loud sound that would cause a fear reaction in a young child. Through numerous paired presentations, the child will eventually become afraid of a cute animal.

Albert Bandura focused on modeling or observational learning. His most famous study focused on children watching an aggressive act on a video and then having opportunity to replicate the same behavior they watched.

To review, see sections 6.2, 6.3, and 6.4 of the textbook and "Conditioning and Learning".


4c. Understand real-world applications of learning theories, including reinforcement and reinforcement schedules, punishment, and shaping

  • What are some real-world examples of reinforcement, punishment, and shaping?

Educational settings are a prime example of the principles of behaviorism. For example, teachers may reward certain behaviors like raising hands or sitting still by rewarding children with stars or stickers. Similarly, if children fail to follow directions, teachers may remove stickers from a reinforcement chart.

When teaching new skills such as writing neatly, teachers often utilize shaping or successive approximation. For example, a teacher might reward a student for correctly spelling the word the first time, and then only reward correctly spelled and also neatly written worked the next time around.

To review, see section 6.3 of the textbook.


4d. Understand how memory functions, memory processes, and the parts of the brain involved in memory processing

  • What are the stages of memory processing?
  • What parts of the brain are involved in memory processing?

Memory, our system of storing and retrieving information, can be thought of as an information processing system similar to a computer. Memory is processed in the following order: Encoding – Storage – Retrieval. During the encoding stage, our brain receives or inputs new information. This process may be enhanced if there is meaning attached to new information. After information gets encoded, it moves onto storage for retention. Memory must pass through the following stages in order to move to storage: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Retrieval or recall is the last part of the system and refers to drawing on memory when we need it. It can be further differentiated between recall (accessing information without cues) and recognition (identifying previously learned information via comparisons).

Some scientists argue that specific parts of the brain are involved in the memory process.

The amygdala regulates and controls emotions and can thus affect how memories are stored (for example, by the stress or emotion they are associated with). There is also evidence that the hippocampus is involved in retaining spatial memories and attaching meaning to memories. Finally, the cerebellum and the prefrontal cortex are responsible for forming implicit memories i.e. procedural memory. Aside from specific parts of the brain, there is also reason to suggest that neurotransmitters affect memory storage.

To review, see sections 8.1 and 8.2 of the textbook"Information Processing", and "Memory (Encoding, Storage, Retrieval)".


4e. Differentiate among the various types of memory, including semantic, episodic, sensory, short-term, long-term, declarative (explicit), procedural, and implicit

  • What's the difference between semantic and episodic memory?
  • How is long-term memory further divided?

Long-term memory can be further divided into explicit/declarative memory (memory we personally experience) and implicit/non-declarative memory (not part of our consciousness such as the memory that is formed during behaviors).

Semantic and episodic memory are both components of explicit/declarative memory (memories that we can try to recall consciously). Semantic memory refers to words, concepts, and facts, whereas episodic memory refers to our previous experiences. Only long-term memory can be recalled at a later point in time.

To review, see section 8.1 of the textbook.


4f. Explain how the various types of memory work together, the causes of memory problems, and methods to improve memory

  • What's the difference between retrograde and anterograde amnesia?
  • What common memory problems occur in forensic/criminal matters?
  • What are common strategies to enhance memory functioning?

The various parts of the brain that have been thought to affect memory (amygdala, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex) work together to form, store, and retrieve information. However, sometimes our brains fail (such as if we experience head trauma), and we cannot form new information or retrieve previous memories. For example, patients diagnosed with anterograde amnesia cannot remember new information, whereas those suffering from retrograde amnesia cannot recall events or information prior to a memory-related injury.

Forensic, criminal, and social psychologists also point out that people are susceptible to false memories or can be subjected to conditions in which their memories are recalled incorrectly. Common memory problems that impede adequate recall of events witnesses commonly experience include suggestibility, eyewitness misidentification, and the misinformation effect.

There are also a number of strategies you can use to improve your memory such as chunking, elaborative rehearsal, and mnemonic devices. Chunking refers to organizing information into chunks or bits of information, e.g., remembering your social security number in a pattern of three and two digits (XXX-XX-XXX) rather than memorizing individual digits. Elaborative rehearsal is a process in which you attribute meaning of new information to already stored information. Mnemonic devices are aids to help you retain new information.

To review, see sections 8.3 and 8.4 of the textbook and "Eyewitness Testimony and Memory Biases".


Unit 4 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Operant conditioning
  • Classical conditioning
  • Shaping
  • Modeling
  • Reinforcement
  • Punishment
  • Reinforcement schedule
  • Neutral stimulus
  • Conditioned response
  • Conditioned stimulus
  • Short-term memory
  • Long-term memory
  • Semantic memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Declarative (explicit) memory
  • Procedural memory
  • Implicit memory
  • Amnesia
  • Chunking
  • Elaborative rehearsal
  • mnemonic devices
  • Suggestibility
  • Eyewitness misidentification
  • Misinformation effect

Unit 5: Development

5a. Categorize famous psychologists according to their studies and theories of development, including Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, John Bowlby, Lev Vygotsky, and Harry Harlow

  • What does Sigmund Freud's theory of psychosexual development suggest?
  • What are the stages of development in Jean Piaget's theory?
  • Which psychologists studied attachment? What do their theories suggest?

While Wilhelm Wundt is generally viewed as the father and founder of psychology, Sigmund Freud is the most commonly associated name with the discipline, primarily due to his controversial theory and focus on sexual pleasure during childhood. Sigmund Freud developed the theory of psychosexual development, which claims that personality is determined at an early age. His theory is based on pleasure-seeking behaviors and characterized by 5 stages of development: oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital.

Other famous psychologists like Erik Erikson also focused on children's emotional and social development, but Jean Piaget focused on children's cognitive development. Piaget was particularly curious to understand how children develop logic and learn how to apply logical operations. In this model, he differentiates between the following stages of development: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational.

Unlike the other psychologists, Harry Harlow, John Bowlby, and Mary Ainsworth studied attachments, the bonds and relationships between children and their primary caregivers. The relationships we have with family and friends are a foundation of childhood and affect child and human development. Harlow worked with monkeys to understand the infant/mother bond. He found that there is more to the bond between mother and child than nourishment.

John Bowlby developed a more formalized attachment theory and differentiated between secure, avoidant, resistant, and disorganized attachments. Children with a healthy attachment are believed to have a secure relationship with their parents in which are allowed to explore their surroundings under a caring eye. A secure child has a parent that is responsive to his needs and both engage in mutually enjoyable interactions.

Mary Ainsworth studied the separation between infants/toddlers and their mothers and concluded there were three types of attachments: secure, avoidant, and resistant. Similar to Bowlby's work, Ainsworth finds that secure attachments are characterized by responsive and attentive parents.

To review, see sections 9.2 and 9.3 of the textbook and "Freud's Psychosexual Development".


5b. Differentiate among the major theories of human development

  • What are some differences between Sigmund Freud and Erik Erikson's development theories?
  • What are some differences between Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg's theories?

Freud was concerned with childhood development, whereas Erikson focused on people's entire lifespan. Freud's model was very deterministic, and viewed childhood as the time when a person's personality was determined. Erikson provided more autonomy to the individual by suggesting that each person struggles with a different conflict at various stages in their life, and that personality is dependent on the resolution of conflicts. Both theorists offer stages of human development.

Jean Piaget was concerned with children's cognitive development and trying to understand how they perceive and make sense of the world. Lawrence Kohlberg, on the other hand, was concerned with children's moral development. Piaget developed his work based on observable interactions with children whereas Kohlberg had to rely on hypothesized situations.

Each of these theorists presented a unique way of thinking about childhood and human development. There is ample research supporting each approach, and there is no consensus that only one theorist is correct. Rather, psychologists today draw on all of these foundations.

To review, see section 9.2 of the textbook.

5c. Identify the major milestones of each period of lifespan development

  • What are some physical developmental milestones young children should hit? For example, at which age should children be able to name familiar things?
  • What are some major features of social and physical development for adolescents?
  • What are the stages of adulthood?

Children experience rapid physical development from birth until early childhood. Children grow in height and weight, and their brains develop just as quickly. As children develop their fine and motor skills, there are a number of milestones parents can look for. For example, children should be able to kick a ball and communicate in simple sentences by age 2.

Children around age 3 are expected to climb stairs and pedal a tricycle. 4-year olds should be able to catch a ball and remember songs and rhymes, while 5-year olds should be able to use a fork and spoon.

Adolescence is a socially-constructed stage of development during which young people form their own identities and slowly retreat from parental oversight. Puberty is usually the onset of this stage. Adolescents' sexual and reproductive systems mature, and their brains continue to grow. Boys and girls also grow rapidly in height during this stage and the frontal lobe of the brain continues to develop.

Adulthood is divided into 3 stages: early (roughly age 20-40), middle (40-60), and late (60 and older). Once we reach early adulthood, our physical development is complete. Our physical abilities reach their peak during the early part of this stage. Physical decline begins during middle adulthood. You may see your first wrinkles, and vision may begin to decline. Late adulthood is characterized by more decline, such as increased skin elasticity, weight gain, and problems with sensory stimulation. The brain may also slow down during this stage, leading to common problems such as memory loss and dementia.

To review, see section 9.3 of the textbook.


5d. Discuss disorders of childhood, such as ADHD and autism

  • What are some common symptoms of children experiencing ADHD?
  • What is autism? What is the relationship between childhood vaccinations and autism?

Psychological disorders generally affect adults more often than children. However, there are two common disorders of childhood (ADHD and autism) that are receiving attention in recent years. The causes of either disorder have not been fully determined yet but there is some evidence suggesting genetic factors.

According to the APA, children with ADHD show a constant pattern of inattention and/or hyperactive and impulsive behavior that interferes with normal functioning. For example, they might be disruptive at school, unable to sit still or follow directions, and greatly disorganized in their everyday life.

Children with autism disorder show signs of significant disturbances in three main areas: deficits in social interaction, deficits in communication, and repetitive patterns of behavior or interests. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that vaccinations cause or are related to the onset of autism.

Early detection and treatment of any of these conditions can lead to improved outcomes for the child.

To review, see section 15.10 of the textbook and "ADHD and Behavior Disorders in Children".


5e. Describe the stages of human prenatal development and influences during pregnancy

  • What are the stages of prenatal development?
  • Which harmful agents that can affect prenatal development?

Studying human lifespan would not be complete without focusing on the biology and process of conception and pregnancy. The first two weeks of pregnancy are called the germinal stage of development, during which the child's DNA is created. Cells rapidly multiply. The embryonic stage lasts until week 8 of pregnancy. During this stage the embryo is formed and a placenta develops. The last stage of prenatal development, the fetal stage, lasts from weeks 9 through birth (week 40). Sex organs begin to develop during the early part of this stage, and body parts and internal organs develop later.

Growing embryos experience much of what their mothers do; they can hear sounds and digest the same food. Pregnant women are advised to avoid harmful agents such as alcohol, nicotine, and illegal substances, because these teratogens have been linked to negative effects on a developing fetus. For example, children of mothers who consumed a lot of alcohol during pregnancy may develop mental retardation and demonstrate changed facial features, such as smaller head and eye sizes.

To review, see section 9.3 of the textbook.


Unit 5 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Adolescence
  • Adulthood
  • Childhood
  • Attachment
  • Development
    • Cognitive
    • Human
    • Social
    • Psychosexual
    • Moral
  • Prenatal care
  • Teratogen
  • Embryo
  • Foetus
  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders

Unit 6: Personality

6a. Define personality and describe early theories of personality

  • What is personality?
  • How has personality been studied?

Personality is the long-term traits and patterns that make us think, behave, and feel the way we do. Personality is what makes us who we are and what differentiates us from others.

A number of theorists have studied personality and its development since the ancient Greek times. Hippocrates who identified 4 basic temperaments (choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic), and Galen believed that personality is a result of imbalances in these temperaments. In the 18th century, a German physician by the name of Franz Gall examined patients' brain size in relation to their personality. Phrenology became an early focus in this line of inquiry, although it has since been discredited.

A number of other theorists, including Immanuel Kant and Wilhelm Wundt, have added

their thoughts about the 4 basic temperaments originally introduced hundreds of years ago. For example, Wundt used these temperaments to understand personality through two major axes: emotional/nonemotional and changeable/unchangeable.

To review, read section 11.1 in the textbook.


6b. Describe and differentiate the theories of Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, and Karen Horney

  • Who developed the first complete theory of personality? What are its components?
  • How does Sigmund Freud's influential theory of personality differ from those of Alfred Adler, Erik Erikson, Carl Jung, and Karen Horney?

Sigmund Freud introduced the first complete theory of personality. According to Freud's

psychodynamic perspective, the id contains our most primitive instincts (hunger, thirst, sex) and houses the pleasure principle, which seeks immediate gratification. The id is present from birth onwards while the superego develops over time as children navigate rules and order. The superego is essentially our conscience and tells us what our expected behaviors are. The ego is the rational part of our personality. Freud viewed this part as our true "self" and how others perceive us. The ego balances the conflicting id and superego drives by finding middle ground. Freud further suggested that our mind makes use of defense mechanism (e.g., denial, displacement, repression) to reduce the anxiety that often arises from these conflicts.

Freud developed stages of psychodynamic development starting with oral at birth, anal during early toddler years, phalliclatency, and lastly, genital during the adolescent years. Each stage is marked by a pleasure fixation (id drive). His theory was controversial when first introduced but has dominated much of the psychology literature.

Freud's theory focused on underlying sexual and aggressive drives in motivating our behaviors while Alfred Adler believed that underlying feelings of inferiority motivate us towards superiority which guides our behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Unlike Freud, Adler also embraced the role of social relationships in developing personality and focused on birth order in explaining personality.

Unlike Freud's theory, Erik Erikson's theory focused on personality development across one's entire lifetime while Freud focused on the significance of childhood years. Further, Erikson suggested that our personality is a product of how we resolve various conflicts throughout our lifespan.

Carl Jung introduced the school of analytical psychology and focused on the role of a collective unconscious. Unlike Freud, Jung assumed we all have shared collective unconscious memories and experiences.

Karen Horney was the first woman to take a serious look at Freud's theory and like Jung wanted to focus on reaching patients' full potential through psychoanalysis while Freud was focused on uncovering childhood experiences. Horney's theory largely focused on the role of unconscious anxiety. She contributed to the field by identifying three ways of coping: moving toward people, moving against people, and moving away from people.

To review, read sections 11.2 and 11.3 in the textbook.


6c. Describe behaviorist, cognitive, and social learning approaches, as well as humanistic and biological perspectives on personality development

  • What are the behaviorist, cognitive, and social learning perspectives in personality?
  • What do the humanistic and biological views suggest?
  • What was the purpose of the marshmallow test? Who studied it?
  • What was the influence of Raymond Cattell in the field of personality psychology?

People, like B.F. Skinner who follow a behaviorist perspective view that personality is not a product of genes but rather a result of learned behaviors that have been reinforced. Albert Bandura viewed that cognition or thought as well as situation/context also affect behaviors and thus termed the idea of "reciprocal determinism" which is at the heart of the social-cognitive perspective.

Within this social-cognitive perspective, Bandura introduced the concept of "self-efficacy," namely the level of confidence we have in our abilities. Julian Rotter discussed the "locus of control," referring to the belief of how much control we have over our lives.

Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers favored the humanistic approach suggesting that we need to focus on our personal depth and the meaning of an experience to understand personality. They studied the characteristics of healthy and productive people and focused on the concept of the "self."

The biological approach views that personality is innate so this type of research examines the outcomes of twins who are reared together or apart (if they are adopted) and how that affects their personalities.

Walter Mischel studied self-regulation (self control) with a group of preschoolers by presenting them with one marshmallow. He gave the children a choice when he had to leave the room: either eat the one marshmallow now or wait for him to return at which point they could eat two marshmallows. He followed the children's academic careers for several years and found that the children who could wait for his return and thus self regulate, had better educational outcomes compared to children who chose to eat the marshmallow right away.

Raymond Cattell built on the work by Gordon Allport in identifying personality traits. Cattell narrowed Allport's list of character traits substantially and viewed that our personality is shaped by multiple traits. He finally identified 16 factors or dimensions of personality: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule-consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractedness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self- reliance, perfectionism, and tension.

To review, read sections 11.4 through 11.7 in the textbook and "Personality Traits".


6d. Explain the uses and utility of personality assessment methods

  • What are the differences between self-report and projective personality tests? What are some examples of each?
  • How have popular personality assessment tests been modified to adapt to minority populations?

A number of assessment techniques have been developed to measure personality. Self-report assessments like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) ask respondents to rate answer choices on Likert scales to a host of statements. The MMPI takes a few hours to administer. Generally, these self-report assessments yield more reliable and valid results than projective inventories. Clinicians favor the MMPI because results can be summarized in distinct clinical profiles.

There are a number of subjective projective tests to measure personality. For example, the Rorschach Inkblot test shows respondents an Inkblot and then asks them what it might depict. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) shows respondents a picture and asks them to tell a story about it. The Rotter Incomplete Sentence Bank (RISB) asks respondents to finish a sentence. Projective tests are generally not as reliable or valid as self-report measures although they are still commonly used in a number of settings.

Two personality tests have been introduced specifically for minority populations since the conventional assessments have been shown to have bias. The TAT has been modified for African-Americans and is referred to as the Contemporized-Themes Concerning Blacks Test (C-TCB) while the TEMAS Multicultural Thematic Apperception Test was developed primarily for Hispanic populations.

To review, read section 11.9 in the textbook and "Personality Assessment".


Unit 6 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Thematic Apperception Test
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
  • Five factor model
  • Rorschach Inkblot test
  • Rotter Incomplete Sentence Bank (RISB)
  • Id
  • Ego
  • Superego
  • Inferiority complex
  • Womb complex
  • Birth order
  • Self efficacy
  • reciprocal determinism
  • locus of control
  • collective unconscious
  • phrenology
  • defense mechanism
  • temperament

Unit 7: Social Psychology

7a. Understand major topics in social psychology, including presentation, attitudes and persuasions, conformity, compliance, obedience, cognitive dissonance, prejudice and discrimination, aggression, and prosocial behavior

  • What is cognitive dissonance? Describe an example.
  • What is conformity? Who researched this concept?
  • How are the concepts of stereotype and prejudice related?

The subfield of social psychology is concerned with our behaviors and interactions in a social context. Social psychologists study a number of behaviors, such as how and why we form attitudes, the effect of persuasion and pressure of authority, and aggressive and prosocial behaviors. Some social psychologists are interested in group dynamics, examining for example, how being part of a group can alter a member's opinion about a certain topic.

Social psychologists have coined a number of terms to explain social behaviors. For example, attitude refers to an evaluation or a judgement that we make of a person, idea, or object. Cognitive dissonance means holding two or more opposing views or attitudes. Smokers are a prime example for this, as many are aware of the bad health effects of smoking, yet they choose to partake in unhealthy behavior. In social psychological terms, these smokers would experience cognitive dissonance.

Obedience refers to changing your behavior because of a request by an authority figure. Research finds that we like to please authority figures and/or are afraid of negative consequences, hence, many people are obedient to authority as demonstrated in Stanley Milgram's famous experiment.

Persuasion refers to changing your attitude based on communication with another person. In a group context, conformity can occur when you change your behavior or attitude to align with a group. In a famous study, Solomon Asch found this conformity effect ("Asch effect") when a group convinced a research participant of an untrue fact so much that the participant changed his attitude to conform to the consensus of the group.

Prejudice refers to a negative attitude and feeling toward an individual based solely on one's membership in a particular social group whereas a stereotype is a negative belief about individuals based solely on membership in a certain group, regardless of their individual characteristics. Often, stereotypes are a precursor to the development of prejudice (and discrimination).

To review, see sections 12.3, 12.4, and 12.5 of the textbook, and "Conformity and Obedience".


7b. Describe the theories and research of important social psychologists, including Philip Zimbardo, Stanley Milgram, Albert Bandura, Abraham Maslow, Alfred Kinsey, Solomon Asch, William Masters, and Virginia Johnson

  • What did Stanley Milgram research? What was his design and what were some ethical issues associated with this experiment?
  • What was the Stanford Prison experiment? Who was the researcher who pioneered this study?
  • What did Alfred Kinsey, William Masters, and Virginia Johnson study? What are some similarities and differences in their work?

A lot of research has been done in the field of social psychology, spanning topics such as conformity, obedience, sexuality, motivation, and social learning.

Stanley Milgram researched obedience to authority in his famous study at Yale University. He used confederates to pressure study participants to administer (fake) electric shocks to other people. The participants did not know that the shocks were never administered so many left his experiment assuming they had caused great bodily harm on another person.

Philip Zimbardo conducted the Stanford Prison experiment, in which participants were randomly assigned into the roles of prison guards or prisoners in a fake prison set up in a basement at the university. Zimbardo wanted to explore the power of social roles and norms. The experiment ultimately had to be cut short due to participants' increasingly aggressive behaviors.

Alfred Kinsey, William Masters, and Virginia Johnson studied human sexuality. Kinsey focused on people's sexual behaviors, whereas Masters and Johnson examined the sexual response cycle.

Albert Bandura studied social modeling or observational learning. His most famous study focused on children watching an aggressive act on a video and then having opportunity to replicate the same behavior they watched.

Abraham Maslow focused on human motivation and developed his famous hierarchy of needs. His model suggests that basic physiological and security needs such as food, shelter, warmth, and safety must be met first before a person can focus on inner fulfillment in life. He is also a proponent of the Humanism school of therapy in which clients are encouraged to seek their fulfillment in life.

Solomon Asch focused on group behavior specifically persuading members of a group to change their attitudes even if it's wrong. In his classic experiment, he found a conformity effect ("Asch effect") that occurs when a group convinces a member of an untrue fact so much that that member changes his attitude to conform to the consensus of the group.

To review, see sections 10.3 and 12.4 of the textbook, and "Conformity and Obedience".


7c. Identify the factors inherent in situational versus dispositional influences on behavior

  • What is the difference between situationism and dispositionism?
  • In which type of culture is the fundamental attribution error most commonly found?

People's behaviors are a result of internal (personality traits) and external factors (situations, social context). Situationism is the view that our behavior and actions are determined by our immediate environment and surroundings. In contrast, dispositionism holds that our behavior is determined by internal factors.

Western cultures, such as the United States, favor a dispositionism view, and assume that we are aware of our own choices and behaviors. This may lead us to conclude that a behavior is a function of an internal trait without considering the social context. For example, a person walking down the street and slipping on a banana peel might be viewed as clumsy. Explaining behavior solely via internal traits and not taking the situation into account is known as the fundamental attribution error. Research shows that people of individualistic cultures (cultures that focus on individual achievement and autonomy) are more prone to commit the fundamental attribution error.

To review, see section 12.1 of the textbook.


7d. Identify cognitive biases in real-life situations, including the fundamental attribution error, actor-observer bias, self-serving bias, just-world hypothesis, bystander effect, and the lessons learned from the Stanford Prison Experiment

  • What is the fundamental attribution error? Provide real-life examples.
  • What is self-serving bias?
  • What is the bystander effect? Provide real-life examples.

Social psychology is concerned with understanding people's behavior and explaining why we think or behave the way we do. In Western cultures, we are more prone to associate internal dispositions with behavior. The fundamental attribution error highlights this phenomenon and states that people assume internal factors/traits are to blame for others' behaviors rather than taking the context or a situation into consideration. For example, if you are driving on the road and notice the car in front of you suddenly swerving out of control. You might automatically assume that the driver is bad or not experienced without taking the situation into consideration. For instance, the driver may have needed to avoid hitting an animal.

The actor-observer bias expands beyond the fundamental attribution error. In this case, the person still assumes that other people's behaviors are a result of internal traits (fundamental attribution error) but at the same time attributes his own behavior to situational factors. For example, if I do poorly on a psychology exam while my friend aces it, I might blame the fact that the room was too hot or that there was too much noise for me to concentrate.

When we make internal attribution for our successes ("I am an excellent tennis player") and fail to take situational factors into account ("the sun was shining in my opponent's eyes during the match"), we commit self-serving bias.

The just world hypothesis stipulates that we all get what we deserve. So when we walk by a homeless person on the street, we might assume that this person has done something in his life to "deserve" having to live on the street.

When a number of people witness the same event, they are less likely to interfere or act when needed. This is known as the bystandereffect. For instance, people may not offer money or food to a homeless person on the street, assuming that others will.

It is important to note these cognitive biases as they can explain human behavior in social settings. Social psychology thus argues that behavior and actions should be viewed in context.

Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison experiment provided a real-life demonstration of the influence of social roles and context. He was forced to cut his simulated prison study short when participants who had been randomly assigned into the role of prison guards became increasingly aggressive and violent over their inmates.

To review, read sections 12.1 and 12.6 of the textbook and "The Fundamental Attribution Error".


7e. Describe the major theories of motivation and emotion, such as the drive theory, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, James Lange theory, Cannon-Bard theory, Schachter-Singer two factor theory, and cognitive-mediational theory

  • What is the drive theory?
  • What does Maslow's hierarchy of needs suggest?
  • What is the Cannon-Bard theory of motivation?

Another focus within social psychology is understanding human motivation, namely what makes us act the way we do.

The drive theory states that when your body moves away from a state of homeostasis (a state of perfect physiological balance), a physiological need arises. For example, when your blood sugar drops (imbalance) because you have not eaten in a few hours, you become hungry and are thus motivated to eat.

While most theories focus on biological and physiological processes to explain motivation and emotion, Abraham Maslow's work includes social motivations as well. Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs which suggests that once basic physical needs such as shelter, food, warmth are met, individuals can address individual and social needs. His work suggests that once physiological needs are met, people can address social needs and find their own realization (self actualization).

Three theories focus on understanding emotions. The James Lange theory states that physiological arousal causes emotions so that if you see a bear in the woods as you're hiking, your body would react (fight or flight) by increased physiological arousal, for example, increased heartbeat, sweating which in turn would make you feel afraid.

The Cannon-Bard theory suggests that both physiological arousal and emotional experience occur simultaneously but independent of each other. For example, if confronted with an intruder, you will feel both fear as well as physiological arousal (sweating, increased heart beat) at the same time.

The Schachter-Singer two factor theory suggests that there is a cognitive as well as physiological component to emotions. Specifically, this theory assumes that we interpret our physiological response based on what we know (cognitive). Drawing on the bear in the woods example above, the Schachter-Singer two factor theory explains that we experience fear because we know that confronting a bear in the woods is alarming.

Lazarus' cognitive mediational theory suggests that emotional responses are a function of our appraisal of the stimulus which is often an unconscious process.

To review, see sections 10.1 and 10.4 of the textbook.


Unit 7 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Presentation
  • Attitudes
  • Persuasions
  • Conformity
  • Compliance
  • Obedience
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • prejudice
  • Discrimination
  • Aggression
  • prosocial behavior
  • Asch effect
  • Emotion
  • Motivation
  • Fundamental attribution error
  • Actor-observer bias
  • Self-serving bias
  • Just-world hypothesis
  • Bystander effect
  • Altruism
  • Confederate
  • Diffusion of responsibility
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Situationism
  • Individualism
  • Social loafing

Unit 8: Industrial and Organizational Psychology

8a. Define the subfield of Industrial/Organizational psychology and explain its history

  • What is the subfield of Industrial/Organizational psychology?
  • How has this subfield developed?

The subfield of Industrial/Organizational or I/O psychology is concerned with applying psychological principles to work settings. In other words, I/O psychologists study how human behavior impacts work as well as how work affects people.

This rather new subfield dates back to the early 20th century when a number of psychologists in the U.S. began to apply psychological principles to work settings. For example, Walter Dill Scott is credited with applying these principles to marketing, management, advertising as well as employee selection. Millicent Pond studied employee selection in relation to job performance and was among the first to develop pre-selection employment selection tools. Elton Mayo focused on organizational dynamics and his work ultimately led to the discovery of the Hawthorne effect, the phenomenon in which employees are more productive when they are observed. The Hawthorne effect is still a big focus today. Kurt Lewin contributed to the field by coining the term "group dynamics" and exploring group relations in work settings. Frederick Taylor focused on design aspects of the workplace (which led to the subfield of human-factor psychology) and Lillian Gilbreth applied psychological principles to employee fatigue and time management stress.

To review, read section 13.1 in the textbook.


8b. Differentiate between industrial and organizational psychology and the real-life applications of each

  • How does industrial psychology differ from organizational psychology?
  • What types of tasks do industrial vs. organizational psychologists undertake?

The subfield of I/O psychology can be further broken down into industrial vs. organizational psychology – the terms are not interchangeable. Industrial psychology focuses on job analysis, such as describing and measuring a task or a job. As such, people with a specialization in industrial psychology are often tasked with writing job requirements, interviewing and hiring employees, training new employees, evaluating performance, and assuring that an organization abides by equality laws.

Organizational psychologists, on the other hand, are mostly concerned with the social aspects of work life, for example ensuring job satisfaction, examining the effectiveness of different leadership or management styles, exploring work-family balance options, or conducting diversity training.

To review, read sections 13.2 and 13.3 in the textbook.


8c. Explain how human-factors psychology relates to Industrial/Organizational psychology

  • What is human-factors psychology? How does it relate to I/O psychology?
  • What type of work does a human-factors psychologists do?

Human-factors psychology is a third specialization within the realm of I/O psychology. This subfield has its roots in design and engineering and is concerned with how employees interact with tools and environments of the workplace. For example, human-factors psychologists might redesign an office space to allow more space for interaction or more room for quiet, focused activities. Human-factors psychologists also focus on workplace safety for example by developing checklists or similar procedures.

To review, read section 13.3 in the textbook.


Unit 8 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Industrial psychology
  • Organizational psychology
  • Human-factors psychology
  • Group dynamics
  • Checklist
  • Hawthorne effect
  • Job analysis
  • Job satisfaction

Unit 9: Health and Stress Psychology

9a. Describe stress, the stress process, and the physiological basis of stress

  • What is stress?
  • What's the difference between primary and secondary appraisal?
  • How can stress manifest itself?

The field of health psychology is concerned with our well-being, how we handle stress, as well as how stressful experiences can impact our daily lives and health. Stress is not an easy concept to define because people generally experience and respond to it differently. Researchers therefore agree that we must focus on how we respond to stressful situations in order to define stress (so moving away from stimulus-based definitions). Consequently, an acceptable definition of stress is "a process whereby an individual perceives and responds to events that he appraises as overwhelming or threatening to his well-being." These events can be referred to as stressors.

It's important to understand that stress affects us because of how we respond to it. It is also important to distinguish between primary and secondary appraisal. Primary appraisal refers to our judgment of the degree of harm or threat a particular stressor has on us, for example, receiving a poor grade might make us feel threatened if report cards are about to come out. How we perceive a threat leads to secondary appraisal, namely, our judgment of how we cope or respond to the stressor. For example, if we decide to take action and discuss the poor grade with the teacher in the hope of doing extra work for a higher score, we might not feel as stressed or threatened by the stressor.

Stress can manifest itself through a variety of symptoms and responses for example, physiological (elevated heartbeat, sweating, gastrointestinal problems), cognitive (having trouble concentrating), and behavioral (engaging in harmful behaviors to alleviate the stressor).

To review, read sections 14.1 and 14.2 in the textbook.


9b. Explain the research on stress done by Walter Cannon and Hans Selye and how it applies to real-world situations

  • What contributions did Walter Cannon and Hans Selye make to health psychology?
  • What are some differences and similarities in their work?

The American physiologist, Walter Cannon, was among the first to explore stress and how our bodies respond to stressful events. He discovered the "fight or flight" response to stress which suggests that our body quickly arouses the sympathetic nervous system and the endocrine system when confronted with a stressful event so that our pupils dilate, our breathing quickens, we begin to sweat, our heart rate increases, and our muscles tense or tremble. These physiological responses prepare us to either fight or escape from the stressful event.

Hans Selye studied rats' responses to stress and developed the "General Adaptation Syndrome," our body's physiological response to stress. According to his syndrome, when confronted with a stressful event, our bodies react in 3 stages: alarm reaction, stage of resistance, and stage of exhaustion. Selye agreed with Cannon that our initial reaction (alarm reaction) is that of fight or flight namely that our body provides us with energy to fight or escape the stressor. When the stressor continues, our bodies move to the second stage – stage of resistance – during which the initial shock wears off and our bodies slowly adapt to the stressor but still remain on high alert. In this stage, our body is still ready to respond but with less intensity than in the previous stage. When the stressor continues over a longer period of time, we move to a stage of exhaustion during which we can no longer adapt to the stressor and our body becomes weakened and more susceptible to illness.

To review, read sections 14.1 and 14.2 in the textbook.


9c. Understand how stress affects bodily functioning and illness

  • What is the relationship between stress and health? Which bodily systems can be affected by stress?
  • What is the relationship between Type A & B personalities and the development of cardiovascular disease?

When our bodies are stressed, we release the stress hormone Cortisol to provide extra energy to either fight or flight. Our bodies can handle short spurts of Cortisol but extended release of this hormone can have effects on our bodies. Research has linked increased Cortisol levels to decreases in immune systems and our ability to fight diseases.

Research also shows that chronic or persistent stress can have harmful effects on our bodies and manifest itself in the form of psychophysiological problems. Stress commonly affects the following bodily systems:

  • Cardiovascular (hypertension, heart disease)
  • Gastrointestinal (problems with bowel movements)
  • Respiratory (asthma, allergies)
  • Musculoskeletal (pains, headaches)
  • Skin (acne, eczema)

Classic research by Martin Friedman even linked personality types to chronic stress and consequently cardiovascular disease. He found that people who displayed a Type A personality (rushed, career-focused, workaholics, confrontational) were more likely to develop heart disease than Type B patients who were more relaxed and laid-back.

To review, read section 14.3 in the textbook.


9d. Explain how coping mechanisms help to regulate stress

  • What's the difference between problem-focused and emotion-focused coping?
  • What types of stress reduction techniques can help alleviate stress?

Health researchers not only study stress but also how we cope with it. They differentiate between two different styles of coping: Problem-focused coping refers to identifying the problem and doing something about it to make it less stressful (action-focused) whereas emotion-focused coping refers to changing the negative emotions attached to the stressor. For example, if you suddenly lose your job, you might start looking for a new job right away or updating your resume (problem-focused) or you might try to look at the bright side by thinking you might now be able to pursue other career interests (emotion-focused). How we cope also depends on how much perceived control we have over the stressful situation.

Research finds that social support can be helpful in coping with stress but there are also a number of stress reduction techniques that have been found to be helpful. Examples include the "relaxation stress response technique" that combines relaxation and meditation as well as "biofeedback" which uses an electronic apparatus to measure and provide feedback on visual and auditory signals.

To review, read section 14.4 in the textbook.


9e. Understand the subfield of positive psychology and the importance of happiness

  • Who developed the field of positive psychology? What does it focus on?
  • What is happiness?

Martin Seligman who initially studied the phenomenon of "learned helplessness" recently founded the field of positive psychology. The field encourages psychologists to focus on human strengths and identifying the factors in life that make us feel happy and fulfilled. Some equate positive psychology with the study of happiness.

While there are many definitions of happiness, some researchers view it to consist of three elements: the pleasant life (attainment of daily pleasures), the good life (identifying specific skills that make us happy), and the meaningful life (deriving a sense of fulfillment or meaning from our activities).

Research finds that happiness is strongly related to age so that older people tend to be happier. Having a family as well as having friends is also associated with happiness as is education and employment.

To review, read section 14.5 in the textbook and "Positive Psychology".


Unit 9 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Stress
  • Stressor
  • Primary appraisal
  • Secondary appraisal
  • Fight or flight response
  • General adaptation syndrome
  • Psychophysiological disorders
  • Type A & B personality
  • Coping (problem-focused & emotion-focused)
  • Relaxation stress response technique
  • Biofeedback
  • Happiness
  • Optimism
  • Positive affect
  • Flow
  • Positive psychology

Unit 10: Psychopathology

10a. Define the subfield of psychopathology

  • What is psychopathology?
  • What do clinical psychologists do?

The field of psychopathology is concerned with studying and treating psychological disorders. Psychological disorders are conditions that have occurred for several weeks, meet diagnostic symptoms, and negatively impact a patient's life. There are a number of examples of psychological disorders: mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders including phobias and panic disorders, as well as psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Clinical psychologists who specialize in psychopathology see patients to diagnose psychological disorders and develop treatment plans for them. Treatment for psychological disorders is varied and depends on the patient and his situation. It may include talk therapy, medication, or a combination. Treatment may occur in a therapist's office or in a hospital, community mental health center, or another location.

To review, see section 15.1 of the textbook.


10b. Define psychological disorders and identify perspectives on psychological disorders

  • What does the harmful dysfunction model mean? How does it relate to the APA definition of psychological disorders?
  • What are differences and similarities between the DSM and ICD?
  • What is the diathesis-stress model?

Some people suggest that psychological disorders are harmful dysfunctions, with an emphasis on "harmful". Since cultural variations define dysfunctions differently for different groups of people, what makes something a true psychological disorder is when that dysfunction becomes harmful to the patient. The APA draws on this definition to outline a definition for psychological disorders.

The APA defines psychological disorders as conditions in which there are significant disturbances in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Moreover, these disturbances reflect a biological, psychological, or developmental dysfunction which leads to significant stress in a patient's life. Further, these disturbances are not culturally appropriate.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) are reference manuals psychologists can use to diagnose psychological disorders. The DSM is published by the APA and thus more prevalent in America while the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes the ICD. The ICD is more widely used elsewhere.

There are varying perspectives of explaining psychological disorders. Historically, people assumed that supernatural causes were to blame for the development of psychological disorders. The biological perspective posits that genes and biological factors (e.g., brain abnormalities, chemical imbalances) cause psychological disorders. The diathesis-stress model of psychological disorders suggests that biological and psychosocial factors predict the occurence of a psychological disorder suggesting that some people may be predisposed to experience a disorder in their life.

To review, see sections 15.2 and 15.3 of the textbook.


10c. Understand how psychological disorders are classified and describe commonly diagnosed psychological disorders and their symptoms, including anxiety disorders, OCD, PTSD, mood disorders, schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders

  • What types of symptoms might a person with anxiety disorder experience? How is a panic disorder different from an anxiety disorder?
  • How are major depressive and manic disorders part of bipolar disorder? What is the biological basis for these mood disorders?
  • What characterizes a schizotypal personality?

Clinical psychologists diagnose psychological disorders using the DSM or ICD. These reference manuals contain checklists for symptoms to meet diagnostic criteria. Clinical psychologists evaluate this by interviewing patients. They may also use diagnostic tests specific for each condition.

A person suffering from anxiety disorder might experience increased heartbeat when confronted with the stimulus of which he's afraid as well as panic attacks when thinking about it. Patients diagnosed with panic disorders experience recurring panic attacks for at least one month and worry about the attack as well as its consequences.

Patients with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) report intrusive thoughts and urges (obsessions) and feel forced to engage in repetitive behaviors (compulsions). For example, a patient may report thoughts about remaining clean or feeling dirty and engage in excessive hand-washing and showering.

Patients diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) either witnessed or experienced a traumatic event which then result in stressful responses, such as flashback memories, during which the person experiences the traumatic event over and over.

Mood disorders include states of sadness and euphoria. Patients diagnosed with depressive disorders may report prolonged states of sadness, feelings of despair, and a general lack in interest. Some may even have suicidal ideations. Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience at least one manic episode in addition to struggling with episodes of depression. There is some biological evidence for mood disorders, specially related to an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia are marked by a complete breakdown in terms of thoughts, perception, emotion, and behavior. Patients with schizophrenia experience delusions (feelings of grandiosity like being king of the world) and demonstrate disorganized thinking (absence of logic in thought or making connections), disorganized behaviors (wearing inappropriate clothing e.g., heavy winter clothes in summer heat), and disorganized emotional responses for example a lack of empathy.

Patients with personality disorders exhibit consistent personality traits that are very different from cultural expectations and variations. These are usually evident in patients' interactions with others. For example, a person with a schizotypal personality displays various strange eccentricities in thought, perception, emotion, speech, and behavior. S/he might be overly suspicious or paranoid with idiosyncratic speech (such as rambling) and exhibit discomfort in social situations. A schizotypal person generally has few friends and often experiences extreme social anxiety.

To review, see sections 15.415.7, and 15.10 of the textbook.


10d. Understand and differentiate among types of current psychological therapies, including psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, and biomedical therapy

  • How could a behavioral therapist work with a patient suffering from anxiety disorder?
  • What happens during a psychoanalytic therapy sessions?
  • Which school of psychology does exposure therapy draw upon? For what types of psychological disorders is it most useful?

Clinical psychologists are trained not only in diagnosing psychological disorders but also in providing treatment for them. Treatment varies and depends on the patient, diagnosis, and context.

Within psychological treatment, there are a number of perspectives or specializations that psychologists can have. For example, a behavioral therapist might help a patient unlearn negatively paired association with the anxiety-inducing stimulus through operant or classical conditioning techniques.

Patients undergoing psychoanalytic therapy might be ask to free associate to uncover unconscious ideas or concepts. Patients might also be asked to discuss their dreams.

Exposure therapy draws upon behaviorism principles and is best suited to treat patients experiencing anxieties and phobias.

To review, see section 16.2 of the textbook.


Unit 7 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Mood disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • Diagnosis
  • Etiology
  • Mania
  • obsessive -compulsive disorder
  • PTSD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Humanistic therapy
  • Biomedical therapy